See below for a list of advanced topics:
Simultaneous work on the same item
In an environment with many users working on the same data, there is a danger of mutual overwriting it if users are working on the same item at the same time. Preventing such situations is an important feature of CodeTwo Public Folders. When several users simultaneously open the same item in MS Outlook in order to change it, after the first one saves the changes, the others will be working with the outdated copy of the element and they will have to reopen this element. When a user tries to save changes on the outdated copy, he will be informed about it with the following message:
It has not been possible to save the element because it has been changed by another user. Do you want to create a copy of the element in the default folder.
The user can save the item in the personal default folder and check the changes made by another user. In this way, no data will be lost.
The File Sharing App offers additional protection against losing data during the simultaneous work on the same element by different users. The first user who closes the file will overwrite the current version. However, the following users will not lose any changes they made - the program will inform them about a possible conflict and create a separate copy of the file they worked on. This way, users will be able to introduce their changes in the most recent file version.
Return from the offline mode
A user who is working with public folders in the offline mode can not only create new and delete old elements, but also edit the existing ones. All these changes are saved locally on the user's computer and transferred to the Syncing Master when connected. In a similar way, all changes made to the Syncing Master while given Outlook Add-ins were offline, are transferred to the clients after getting reconnected.
Conflicts in the offline mode are inevitable. However, in the File Sharing App the problem has been eliminated by introducing the automatic file copies (described in the Simultaneous work on the same item section above). Therefore, in some cases conflicts may still cause partial data loss in MS Outlook. The same element may be changed by one client online and other clients in the offline mode. In such cases, CodeTwo Public Folders uses an algorithm "the last one prevails" - which means that the changes made by the last client returning from the offline mode are transferred to the Syncing Master. If an element has been changed first at Client A working online, and then changed accordingly to Client B working offline, at the moment Client B connects to the Syncing Master, he will overwrite the changes made by Client A.
If some element has been only changed at Client A, working online, this change will be recorded by Client B, when he returns from the offline mode.
The situation is slightly different when Client A that is working online removes a folder, and Client B that is working offline makes changes to the elements in this folder. At the moment of Client B getting connected, the folder will be deleted, and changes made to it will not be saved.
Another situation is in which a user working on the Client B computer in the offline mode have made changes to elements of the folder. Meanwhile, an administrator has deprived this user of the right to edit elements in the folder. When Client B re-establishes connection to the network, the changes he/she has made offline to the Syncing Master will be transferred, even though he was deprived of the right to edit elements in this folder.
When one of the users changes shared Outlook data, this data is being immediately circulated by the Syncing Master among all Outlook Add-ins currently working within the network. At start-up, Outlook Add-ins download all changes from the Syncing Master made to the public folders at the time when the Add-ins were disconnected. CodeTwo Public Folders instantly synchronizes between different Outlook Ad-ins all the changes made by the users to the shared MS Outlook folders and Windows elements, except for the cases below. In the current version the following changes will not be synchronized:
- Elements in the root folder named C2PublicFolders.
- Comments created in the folder properties.
- User group definitions specified in folders of Calendar type as "Group Schedules".
- Folder group definitions specified as "Activities" in Contacts type folders.
By design, in MS Outlook CodeTwo Public Folders does not synchronize items from the special folders named "Deleted Items" and "Drafts".
Default public folders limitations in MS Outlook
In the current version, CodeTwo Public Folders cannot be defined as a location of mail delivery what might cause some limitations. Since there must be a location in the Outlook profile where mail is being delivered, the profile itself has to include "Personal Folders" apart from public folders. In that case, Outlook default folders, such as Inbox, Outbox, Calendar, Tasks, are created in personal folders and the public folders there is no functionality strictly associated with the default folders:
- Reminders are not generated. This limitation does not apply to Microsoft Outlook 2007 or newer.
- Mail cannot be directly received in the public folder. If required, this restriction can be easily evaded by applying a rule to the inbox, which will transfer the incoming messages to a chosen public folder. Learn more about creating a common inbox
- After creating a meeting request in a public calendar, the responses of the participants will not be automatically processed by the Outlook. Therefore, the requests will be placed in the private calendars while being accepted by the aforementioned participants. See also: Accepting and declining tasks and meeting requests in CodeTwo Public Folders.
- After assigning a task in a public folder to users with the "Assign Task" button, it cannot be sent as an e-mail message.
A local copy of public folders is stored in a PST file on each computer with an Outlook Add-in installed. By having local access to the public folders PST file, a user is able to work with public folders in an offline mode when CodeTwo Public Folders Syncing Master is unavailable. All users have their own separate PST file with data from public folders visible to them. If Microsoft Outlook 2010 is installed on a computer, the size of the file cannot exceed 50 GB. Furthermore, the data limit for PST files in Microsoft Outlook versions 2003 or 2007 is set to 20 GB. For versions of Outlook earlier than 2003, the size of the file cannot exceed 2 GB.
If the size of the file reaches the limit, a warning will be displayed. In order to reduce the size of local PST file, you can compact the file, remove some unnecessary data from the public folders or remove a user's right to see certain folders.
The size of data stored in the module of CodeTwo Public Folders Syncing Master is unlimited (the only limitation is the availability of free space on a disk).